Dear Prime Minister - Part 2
I have received a reply from a staff member at the Department for Works and Pensions. You can read that here. Having pondered on its contents, such as they were, I have today written again to Mrs May. This could well run and run.
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
First Lord of the Treasury
Minister for the Civil Service
10 Downing Street
1st November 2016
Dear Prime Minister
I wrote to you in August on behalf of two of my clients who because of their medical condition and through very real fear feel that they cannot. These people, and many others, live in increasingly acute and damaging states of anxiety and fear. Their quality of life is permanently harmed because of your Government’s push to blame these people for their own situation and failure to help them become as productive as is possible. I received a reply from the Ministerial Correspondence Team which I am sure Sir Humphrey Appleby would be proud. The letter made lots of nice general statements but in no way addressed the issues that I raised.
Since my letter to you, announcements were made at your party Conference and various stories about changes to the system have appeared in the media. However, whilst you talk and ‘think’ I continue to work with my clients who face very real and immediate fears every day because they have yet to be informed about how any of these changes will affect their lives. They still live in fear of a future in destitution.
The letter written by Z Ahmet, which I enclose for you to read, says that disabled people are experts on their own condition and then expects them to spend days collecting and collating information that is already in the hands of your staff, either in the NHS or local government. They then have to ensure that the ‘right’ information is presented ‘correctly’ to others of your staff who it seems are not skilled or trained to understand the complexities, details or sequelae of the conditions my clients describe. People who should be concentrating on getting well, are forced into more debilitating anxiety and depression by the very system that is supposed to be supporting them.
There are two main concerns:
what happens if they take up work and then their condition returns and they cannot work as much again? With all the changes they do not believe that they will receive the same level of support as they do now
given that they have been ill for some time what employer is going to give them a job anyway and take the risk of them becoming ill again?
What is required is an imaginative, stepped programme of support that helps them back into being productive or as productive as their illnesses and conditions allow. This may mean some infrequent, intermittent or irregular activity perhaps even voluntary that does not affect their benefits.
Again, I ask you to review both the work and the style of the DWP and its benefits review process and to bring in the Mental Health Charities, those people in receipt of benefits who are able and health and social staff (NHS & Local Government) to understand what the people suffering from these illness and conditions actually require. I would also offer professionals like myself in the private psychotherapeutic services who have evidence that may not be available to the other services.
I ask you to fulfil your promise of July 13th and create a Britain that works for everyone.
Director - Lifetide Training Ltd
NLP Psychotherapist (UKCP). Supervisor, Certified NLP Trainer (INLPTA)